A Queenstowner cricket nut is spending the month as the go-to guy for the touring English cricket team.
Queenstowner Ian Paterson is England’s man behind the scenes as New Zealand Cricket’s international touring team liaison officer.
Paterson handles England’s logistics – organising for 100 bags of equipment to arrive at venues and hotels on time, as well as laundry, transport and seamless airport check-ins.
And it means he’s the man the players go to for local knowledge.
“They often come to me and ask questions, although they don’t obviously ask me for any cricketing advice.
“Just general things about their stay – where to go, good restaurants, bars to avoid.”
Paterson, a former Otago Country Cricket chairman and Events Centre manager, has been touring with the team as they’ve played Twenty/20 matches and One Day Internationals across the country.
Many of those players will arrive in Queenstown with Paterson on Sunday, while Test stars Kevin Pietersen, Monty Panesar, Graham Onions and coach Andy Flower were due to arrive yesterday for the four-day warm-up match against a New Zealand XI at the Events Centre.
“The players actually requested to come and stay and play in Queenstown, which shows you it’s held in high regard,” the 53-year-old says.
“We have some of the best wines in New Zealand so I’m sure they’ll partake in that. There are some keen golfers so the courses are going to get a hiding and a lot are also keen on mountain biking.”
Paterson says more than 40 UK journalists are travelling with the team, providing Queenstown with an ideal opportunity to promote itself as it did when the Irish rugby team stayed during the Rugby World Cup.
The week-long visit to the resort will provide some reprieve from the hectic playing schedule, which often sees Paterson transporting bags and checking in players at airports through the night.
“It’ll be strange being in my home town but staying with the team in the hotel.
“It’s long hours and all that but it just a great pleasure to play a part in making the team feel welcome and ensure the tour goes smoothly.
“I get a bit of a ribbing from the Black Caps now and again – a few whacks on the back of the head.”
All you need to know
What: England v NZ XI
Where: Events Centre
When: February 27 to March 2
Tickets: Single day $15 (adult), $5 (under 18s), $30 (family of four) or $30/$10/$60 for four-day pass